From MIT Technology Review:
A daring effort is under way to create the first children whose DNA has been tailored using gene editing.
by Antonio Regalado November 25, 2018
When Chinese researchers first edited the genes of a human embryo in a lab dish in 2015, it sparked global outcry and pleas from scientists not to make a baby using the technology, at least for the present.
It was the invention of a powerful gene-editing tool, CRISPR, which is cheap and easy to deploy, that made the birth of humans genetically modified in an in vitro fertilization (IVF) center a theoretical possibility.
Now, it appears it may already be happening.
According to Chinese medical documents posted online this month (here and here), a team at the Southern University of Science and Technology, in Shenzhen, has been recruiting couples in an effort to create the first gene-edited babies. They planned to eliminate a gene called CCR5 in hopes of rendering the offspring resistant to HIV, smallpox, and cholera.
Elsewhere, Regalado explains in a tweet: “People asking why CCR5? Why edit a baby to resist disease rather than curing one? Because CRISPR is better at breaking genes than repairing them. And breaking CCR5 could prevent HIV infection. Gets you to “safety” sooner”
The clinical trial documents describe a study in which CRISPR is employed to modify human embryos before they are transferred into women’s uteruses.
It is unclear if any children have been born.
And now from AP:
AP Exclusive: First gene-edited babies claimed in China
By MARILYNN MARCHIONE
34 minutes ago
HONG KONG (AP) — A Chinese researcher claims that he helped make the world’s first genetically edited babies — twin girls whose DNA he said he altered with a powerful new tool capable of rewriting the very blueprint of life.
If true, it would be a profound leap of science and ethics.
A U.S. scientist said he took part in the work in China, but this kind of gene editing is banned in the United States because the DNA changes can pass to future generations and it risks harming other genes.
Many mainstream scientists think it’s too unsafe to try, and some denounced the Chinese report as human experimentation.
The researcher, He Jiankui of Shenzhen, said he altered embryos for seven couples during fertility treatments, with one pregnancy resulting thus far. He said his goal was not to cure or prevent an inherited disease, but to try to bestow a trait that few people naturally have — an ability to resist possible future infection with HIV, the AIDS virus.
Keep in mind that not all these East Asian Frankenstein breakthroughs that make the headlines pan out.
Still, kind of an interesting comparison to developments in the US (see below). Fortunately, Bill Kristol has a plan for Regime Change in China, so no need to worry about such matters.